In this week’s Apple Core roundup, we recap the new features we’re expecting to see on Apple’s next batch of iPhones in September, and discuss how Apple is betting big on 5G with its billion-dollar acquisition of Intel’s modem business.
We also break down the latest rumors about the next MacBook Pro, Apple Watch and Apple’s mixed-reality headset.
Three new iPhones coming in September
It seems as if there’s a fresh batch of rumors about the next iPhones every week, and the fact that they’re all starting to sound repetitive means their debut is likely getting close.
A report from 9to5 Mac this week paints a picture of all the changes (or lack thereof) we can expect in the iPhones. Citing people who’ve apparently already seen the new phones, the report backs up most of what we already heard about the iPhones, but adds a few more tidbits to the mix.
The three new iPhones, for example, will look pretty similar to the 2018 models, and are rumored to have the same screen size as the previous iPhones (5.8-, 6.1- and 6.5-inch). They’ll also have the same resolution and same screen technology (OLED on the XS and XS Max sequels and an LCD screen on the followup to the XR).
They’ll still have Face ID with the True Depth front camera and the notch will be the same size. The only difference pointed out by 9to5mac is that Apple might get rid of 3D Touch and the front-facing camera on the 2019 iPhones will have slow-motion video recording. There was no mention on whether or not they’ll have in-screen fingerprint scanners as previous rumors suggested.
On the back will be a new large square camera bump on all three versions of the 2019 iPhone. In addition to the traditional wide-angle and telephoto from previous years, the XS and XS Max sequels will have a new ultra-wide angle sensor. The XR will likely only have a wide and ultra-wide camera, and will continue to use software to create the portrait mode effect.
The report says the new phones will also get a new feature called “Smart Frame,” too. This feature uses the new lens to capture additional content around your photo (for stills and videos). That information is stored for a limited time so you can go back and expand the margins of the frame if you left someone or something out of the shot.
The report also backs up rumors about a larger battery, a new and more powerful A13 processor and two-way charging, similar to the Galaxy S10 phones.
Other rumors not mentioned by 9to5’s new report suggests that the iPhone 11R will be available in lilac and green, two new colors that would replace last year’s coral and blue options. The phones will also sport a new circular mute switch on the side, similar to iPads and that they’ll keep the traditional Lightning port (not USB-C).
Apple buys Intel’s modem business
Apple could soon be making 5G chips for future iPhones in-house, especially since the 2020 iPhones are already rumored to be the first 5G iPhones with Qualcomm’s5G chips
That’s because Apple announced it signed an agreement to purchase most of Intel’s smartphone modem business, valued at roughly 1 billion dollars. This comes after a two-year legal battle over patent licensing that the company had with Qualcomm. The companies reached a multi-year chip supply agreement with that would allow Apple to use Qualcomm modems in their phones. Buying the business from Intel would mean they get more patents and the personnel support of Intel’s modem team, which gives Apple a leg up to end its reliance on companies like Qualcomm for similar technology.
New MacBook Pro coming this year
Apple’s recent updates to its MacBook lineup haven’t ruled out a possibility of getting yet another one before the end of the year. According to Chinese site The Economic Daily News, Apple is gearing up to launch a high-end 16-inch laptop with a 3,072×1,920-pixel LCD display (up from the 2,880×1,800p in the current 15-inch MacBook Pro) as early as October.
Other potential updates include a better processor and a new keyboard that would use a new scissor switch mechanism in place of Apple’s troubled butterfly switch keyboard, which has caused many mishaps for the company. But the upgrades won’t come cheap; the cost of the new MacBook pro would rise to $3,000, according to the report.
The report also mentions an update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro and Retina screen MacBook Air.
The Apple Watch may get a new screen in 2020
The Apple Watch may get a different screen next year. Another report by The Economic Daily News says Apple will switch from a traditional OLED display to a microLED display on next year’s Apple Watch. Aside from being brighter, microLED technology makes the screen more energy efficient and potentially improve battery life. Improved battery life would mean Apple could finally add a native sleep tracking app to the Apple watch.
Apple’s latest patent hints at new hardware
Just when we thought Apple might be putting on the brakes for its AR/VR glasses project, we have new reason to believe it’s still a go.
Apple filed for a patent for a mixed-reality system, which includes a head-mounted display capable of showing augmented and virtual reality, and a controller.
The headset would include multiple sensors to track the user’s facial expressions as well as the environment around them, while the controller would have at least one (if not two) built-in processors of its own.
Apple has reportedly been working on launching AR or mixed-reality glasses with an 8K display by 2020, but a recent report in Digitimes suggested that the company halted the project because the glasses themselves were nowhere near completion, and weren’t at the price point Apple needed to make them attractive to consumers.
The patent proves Apple is still very much interested in the space, but it may take a bit longer for the actual product to become a reality.